LowCards.com Weekly Credit Card Update–March 30, 2018

March 30, 2018, Written By Bill Hardekopf

Americans Stick to Their Favorite Credit Card for a Long Time—Maybe Too Long
When it comes to their favorite credit cards, Americans aren’t afraid of committing to a long-term relationship. Despite the buzz around new, flashy credit cards, many Americans are sticking to the same credit card they’ve had for 10 or more years. Some 28% of cardholders said they have never changed their go-to credit card. Another 12% said they decided on their go-to card 10 or more years ago. Women were more likely than men to say they had never changed their card, with 33% of women saying this compared to 24% of men. Story by Maria LaMagna for MarketWatch

Don’t Let Technology Bully You Into Tipping
Tipping inflation is real, and it’s coming to a tablet near you. Merchants using Square and other mobile payment services can set “recommended” tip amounts or percentages for any transaction – including ones that traditionally haven’t included tips. Your payment card is swiped through a device attached to an iPad or other tablet, and you’re presented with a screen suggesting you add a gratuity. Many people feel added pressure because the would-be recipient is standing right there, watching the transaction. Story by Liz Weston for Nerd Wallet

How Secure Is Mobile Banking?
Many consumers have turned to their mobile phones for basic banking tasks, such as depositing checks and transferring money between accounts. Cellphones offer people the convenience to perform these tasks whenever and wherever they please. But are we making ourselves vulnerable to cyberattacks in the process? Story by Dan Weil for The Wall Street Journal

American Express Credit Card Rewards May Soon Get Worse
American Express is making major changes to a big portion of its business, and cardholders may end up feeling the consequences depending on how things shake out. Stephen Squeri, American Express’s new CEO, announced the company plans to reduce fees that it charges merchants anytime they accept an AmEx card. The plan, put simply, is that lower fees may attract more businesses to start accepting American Express cards. However, the cardmember rewards—the points and cash back that cardholders collect-are fueled by the revenue generated by merchant fees. If AmEx’s plan doesn’t lead to higher fee revenue, its cards may soon become a lot less rewarding. Story by Robert Harrow for Forbes

Amazon Wants to Get to Teenagers Before the Banks Do
Amazon.com has millennial shoppers nailed down. And their parents. And most of their grandparents. But one group of potential customers has eluded the world’s biggest internet retailer. Teenagers, otherwise known as Generation Z, with their lack of debit and credit cards, their absence of bank accounts and their overwhelming preference for actually putting on clothes and going to physical stores to buy things they could purchase online, pose a big challenge to Amazon. Story by Jennifer Surane for Bloomberg

Robots Predict How You’ll Spend Your Credit Card Points
A growing number of credit card companies are using artificial intelligence software to convince customers to use their credit card points in a certain way, be it redeeming their points for travel, dining, shopping or gift cards, with the goal of keeping those customers spending more and loyal to their cards. Companies have used your past purchases to market you items for years. What credit card companies are doing differently is using other measurements that would typically not be associated with a particular type of consumer behavior as predictors. Banks and other credit card companies have some of the most intimate details on an average person’s spending; knowing how much a person typically spends a month on particular categories and what merchants they shop at, and in some very limited cases, information on what exactly they purchased. Story by Ken Sweet for the Associated Press

Credit, Debit Cards are King for Nearly 80% of Canadians
The majority of Canadians are ditching cash and opting to pay with plastic, according to a new study. The results revealed 79 per cent of Canadians prefer paying with a debit or credit card before using cash. More than two-thirds of respondents said they’d be more likely to make a purchase from a small business if cards were accepted. However, only 11 per cent of small business owners said they believe cards are their customers’ preferred payment method. Story by Nicole Gibillini for BNN

In-Seat Vendors To Begin Accepting Credit Cards At Phillies Games
Phillies fans at the team’s first home game next week will see a new way to pay for their beer or popcorn. The beer man is heading up the aisle at Citizens Bank Park, but you’re low on cash. No need to remain parched. This season, you can hand the vendor a credit card. About ten vendors will be equipped with iPhones and a Bluetooth-connected device that will print a receipt. Aramark is launching the service at the eight Major League ballparks where it has the food concession. The company may expand the service to more vendors, if it catches on. Story by Mike DeNardo for CBS Philly

Shimming, Not Skimming: Thieves Target Chip Cards
First came the warning about skimming but now officials are warning about shimming. Skimming is when hackers attach a device to places where you swipe your debit card and steal personal information through the magnetic strip. Shimmers are paper-thin devices hidden inside the credit card machine slot, so when someone inserts their card, the information can be compromised. Security experts said the thieves can’t clone a chip card but they can copy the data they steal onto a magnetic strip. They can use the counterfeit card by swiping it at an ATM or payment terminal. Story on NBC Connecticut

Clear Mediocre Credit Cards Out of Your Wallet and Give Credit Rating a Boost
The average credit card holder with decent credit has more than four open accounts, and Americans opened 110 million new credit card accounts in 2016 alone. With all that plastic in consumer wallets, not all cards are worthy. At least 1-in-5 credit card customers is carrying the wrong card, usually because fees or rewards are misaligned with their purchasing habits, according to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. Each credit card should rejustify its place among your payment tools, experts say, for two reasons. First, the credit card business has changed recently, with the curse of higher interest rates and the blessing of fatter rewards. Secondly, you may have changed—your credit may have improved and you may qualify for better cards. Story by Gregory Karp for USA Today

Wearables Join Mobiles as High-Growth Payment Methods
According to Barclaycard’s Contactless Spending Index, the value of mobile phone-based touch-and-go payments using its bPay payments chip, which is embedded in items such as watches and jewellery, increased by 365% in 2017 compared with 2016. Over the same period, mobile phone-based contactless payments using its Android app saw a 129% increase in the value transacted. Overall, including the more established cards, contactless payments saw a 79% increase in the value transacted over the same period. Story by Karl Flinders for ComputerWeekly.com



The information contained within this article was accurate as of March 30, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
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